Raptors must consider trading Khem Birch for shooting in offseason

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 05: Khem Birch #24 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 05: Khem Birch #24 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors are currently leaking coolant without Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby in the lineup, as their absence is forcing some of their less-heralded bench players to step into advanced roles. Khem Birch has been thrust into the starting lineup, and the results have been very discouraging.

Since January 14, Birch is averaging just 2.6 points per game on 40% shooting. In that 16-game span, he has scored two points or less 10 times. Birch has just 22 points in seven games since the All-Star break, and 11 of them came in one game against a very beat-up Nets team.

This is a far cry from what he showed us in the Tampa bubble. After getting bought out following his stagnation with the Orlando Magic, Birch averaged 11.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. He earned a three-year, $20 million contract as a result of this stretch, but he hasn’t come close to justifying that deal this season.

Based on the fact that Birch has suffered some concerning injuries and struggled to provide much value on the offensive end, Raptors fans have to wonder if the front office will declare him a sunk cost and move off of him in a few months. If he keeps preventing younger players from getting minutes, he needs to be traded.

Should the Toronto Raptors trade Khem Birch?

While Birch was signed to help the Raptors run out a more traditional center against bigger teams, he has consistently underwhelmed in that area. His rim protection has underwhelmed, and he’s prevented the resurgent Precious Achiuwa from getting a more substantial diet of minutes.

Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster must be aware of the fact that this team needs a makeover in the offseason, specifically when it comes to their lackluster shooting ability. Birch’s value is shrinking with each passing game, which then puts the onus on Toronto to make a win-now move.

Perhaps they could flip him for a guard that needs a change of scenery and had a similar contract? Could his contract be thrown in as salary filler in an even bigger trade? While Birch did return to Canada as a result of this deal, he looks like a square peg that is struggling to fit into a round hole. A trade could jump-start his career once again.

Birch has been a consummate professional in Toronto, but he is clearly not a fit for the Raptors at this point in time. His salary might not seem like a very cumbersome deal, but it could restrict Toronto’s potential options when it comes to improving the roster. 2021-22 might be the last time we see Birch in a Raptors uniform.

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